October 27th will come alive with all things that “go bump in the night” as West Virginia Storytelling Guild members gather at the Center Hall in Arthurdale for an evening of spooktacular tales. At 6:00pm on Saturday, Oct. 27, in the great Hall, 5 tellers from across the state will spin a favorite tale from the ghost tale genre, each attempting to “out-tell” the others.
The featured tellers for this event are seasoned tellers, all. Stas’ Ziolkowski from Shepherdstown WV started telling stories about scientists and mathematicians. Realizing how much his students enjoyed learning in this special way, Stas’ continued telling throughout his 40 years in science and math classrooms. He has also told legends, fairy tales, historical and personal stories at churches, lodges, social gatherings, and festivals in each of the three states he and his wife have lived during the past two decades. Scary stories are a particular favorite. Expect to hear tales of the unexpected, tales that cross the oceans and tales from the grave.For more than 25 years, storyteller Katie Ross and her musician husband Otto have been presenting highly interactive storytelling programs at places such as churches, festivals, schools, civic organizations, libraries, and retreats. They call their duo “Stories by the Score.” Katie tells the tales and Otto plays the accordion, banjo, or guitar as part of the presentation. Katie tells all kinds of stories: inspirational, tall tales, personal, multicultural, etc. Since moving to West Virginia 13 years ago, she has especially enjoyed weaving tales of ghostly encounters in the local area. One of her favorites is “Haunted House Bend”, a tale of the C & O Canal in the eastern panhandle. Katie has won several awards, and she successfully auditioned to be a regional teller at the 2013 National Storytelling Network’s Annual Conference. Katie and Otto live in Mineral County, WV.
June Zugar Riffle, currently from Fairmont and a Preston County native, told stories for more than 20 years as part of the tandem-telling duo known as The Mountain Echoes. This evening’s event brings her out of retirement, as she will be telling a Preston County ghost story as well as a southern West Virginia tale about a dark creature looking for his tail.
Jason Burns of Morgantown is former president of the WV Storytelling Guild and the founder of the WV Spectral Heritage Project that seeks to collect, record, and perform ghost and monster stories indigenous to the state. He conducts ghost tour walks throughout WVU’s campus each fall. His tales are bound to come from within our state’s borders!
Finally, Jo Ann Dadisman from nearby Gladesville has been telling stories for half a century. She is dedicated to preserving the practice of storytelling throughout the state and has appeared at libraries, schools, and parks, for festivals and family reunions. The ghost story is one of her favorites because it reveals so much about the people, places and events that developed the mountainous region we call home.